I have a problem with the term HR

Sage Business Cloud People
Published on 13th January 2017
2 min read

HR is a strategic function in business, but it hasn’t always been. Find out how and why the role has changed with this insider’s view from Malcolm Kemp, VP HR at Swedish unicorn, Klarna.

There seem to be two views of the HR function. Either it is seen as the touchy-feely part of a business, full of buzzwords and empathy but adding little real value; or it is the enforcer who put rules and policies in place and then carries a big stick against those who don’t follow them.

But a third view is emerging. In the new world of people science and Big Data, HR is being recognized as a true business partner with tools and responsibilities that can contribute immeasurably to the continuing success of a business, says Malcolm Kemp.

HR is more than transactional

Running the HR team in a high-growth fintech company, Kemp found that his team needed to do more than hire people, get their contracts out and make sure they got paid. He recognized quite quickly that “you need to ensure you’re making the environment one that the talent you’re hiring can actually thrive in”.

He began looking for ways the team could make a real impact in helping people thrive. Technology was a key driver in putting in a framework to allow his team to work in an agile way that protected and assisted the business.

Meeting business needs.

Taking a look at the bigger picture and what HR could contribute to business goals, Kemp says: “Our main focus was around simplifying the employee environment to help people do what they need to do more easily. Take managers as an example. To do their job to the best of their ability, they need to be able to access and see information around their talent really easily, to be able to feed back quickly and in turn, enable individual empowerment.”

To make sure the manager had the information they needed, without having to go to HR and ask for it, he’s put in place systems that make it directly accessible. More knowledge and information is instantly to hand – allowing managers to make better informed, data-driven decisions.

Using data better in hiring

Kemp and his team are also focusing on the recruitment process. He has looked hard at the data to gauge how efficient their current process is and where improvements can be made. Now, the recruitment process starts even before anyone has applied for a job. Data helps the team analyze when candidates who’ve looked at the website are most likely to apply and what content to push out to them and when – to make sure Klarna is attracting the best people, creating positive candidate experiences, and a great place to work.

Getting the right tools

Kemp feels that using the right technology is essential for HR and adds incredible value to an organization. “With technology built into the seams, HR can become a true business partner, provide more access to organizational data and help make business decisions significantly easier,” he says.

Find out more

Read the full interview with Malcolm Kemp to get his insider’s view on HR in the tech industry in The People Science Edition

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